We aim to provide high quality services which meet your needs, and believe we achieve this most of the time. However, as a result of the various activities NIESR undertakes, and the number of customers, clients and other stakeholders we work with, complaints do occasionally arise.

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In this context complaints are deemed to involve an expression of dissatisfaction, grievance or fault finding about NIESR. All issues are logged, whether dealt with as a formal or informal complaint, to ensure fairness and to mitigate any further complaint

Application and Scope

NIESR will thoroughly investigate any complaint, whether informal or formal, relating to the day-to-day operation of the organisation and the standards of service we provide. Areas excluded from this policy include:

  • Where the issue is governed by a separate agreement (for example, if the complaint is about the delivery of a good or service that is covered by a contract)
  • Employment issues which are covered by staff Grievance Procedures
  • Any matter that is the subject of legal action
  • Any complaint which is deemed to be vexatious or malicious following investigation

The Procedures

There are three main areas of the Complaints Policy and Procedure: informal complaints, formal complaints, and appeals:

Informal complaints

Where the complainant(s) wish a matter to be dealt with informally or wishes to initially speak to the relevant staff member or their manager about an issue that has arisen, the details of this complaint will be logged as informal on the complaints log.

In most instances informal complaints will not receive a formal written response but must be dealt with promptly. It is the responsibility of the relevant manager to initially attempt to resolve, and follow up on, this complaint. However, if it is evident that a resolution is not likely to be met, it should be referred to a more senior member of staff to prevent it becoming a more serious matter.

Formal complaints

If the complainant(s) is not satisfied with the initial response, or wishes to raise a more formal complaint, then these should be sent to complaints@niesr.ac.uk. This email address is monitored and in the first instance complaints will be directed to the Head of External Affairs.

Any other member of staff receiving a formal letter of complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the Head of External Affairs, using the email address, on the day of receipt, together with any additional information they may possess on the incident. This may help to speed up the response time.

A written acknowledgement will be sent within three working days, and the details logged on the Complaints Log for checking and reporting.

Complaints will be investigated fairly and quickly, with the intention of satisfactorily resolving the matter, identifying the causes and symptoms and upholding or rejecting the complaint for the benefit of all involved. The aim is to reply to the complainant within ten working days. If this is not possible, an interim response will be made informing them of the action taken to date or being considered.


If the complainant remains dissatisfied or aggrieved or in disagreement with the decision made or reasons given, they may appeal against the decision. A complainant has ten working days in which to submit an appeal. The reason for the appeal should be clearly stated in writing and sent, via the complaints@niesr.ac.uk email address, for the trustees to consider. This will be considered at the next meeting of the Audit, Risks and Ethics committee. The decision at the end of this stage is final and will be communicated in writing.

Nothing in this policy affects the legal rights of either party.